GasElectricDual FuelEnergy Star Certified
Main Content
Black and silver slow cooker

Slow Cooker Buying Guide

Slow cookers are a must-have for every kitchen, especially during the cold months. This is the perfect appliance for people who love meal prepping, trying new recipes, and anyone who loves to come home to a warm meal at the end of the day. Learn all about them with our comprehensive guide.
Open slow cooker with veggies simmering inside

What Are Slow Cookers?

Slow cookers are electric pots that are used to cook and simmer food very slowly, and often in large quantities. Unlike its relative the pressure cooker, the slow cooker's purpose is the take its time, blending flavors together and heating the ingredients within until they're tender. That makes it the perfect kitchen tool for soups, chilis, stews and more. Often lauded for its ability to heat tough meats until they're perfectly tender, they can be left on for hours at a time safely thanks to their thoughtful design and low-set temperatures.
Thanks to its low-heat settings and insulated structure, slow cookers can be left to heat food throughout the day while you're away. Add ingredients in the morning or afternoon, and return to a complete meal in the evening. Some have dishwasher-safe pots inside, while others need to be handwashed. Often referred to as crock pots, these small kitchen appliances have been around for decades. Suitable for making large-sized family meals, sides for holiday dinners or meal prep for the month, these are multifunctional appliances that can pull their own weight. Explore the features and foods you'll want in your slow cooker below.

Best Foods To Make In Slow Cookers

Just like with air fryers and pizza ovens, there are some recipes that just go together with the appliances you make them in. Below we've listed some of the most popular "Americana" dishes people make in slow cookers.
  • Pot Roast
  • Chicken Soup
  • Chili
  • Mashed Potatoes & Sour Cream
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Buttermilk Grits
  • Barbecue Pulled Pork
  • Corned Beef and Cabage



The size of a slow cooker is measured in quarts and ranges from 1-7 quarts, so make sure you get the size that's right for you. The smallest size is not really suitable for even one-portion meals. Anything from about 4 quarts and over is considered family size. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to buy a larger size just in case you have guests over or if you want to freeze some meals for later. The largest models with automatic timers tend to be the most expensive.


Larger models usually have more power. Most models offer at least 2 heat settings, but some models offer more then that. It's always better to have an "automatic" option allowing you to set the timer, too. Another feature that you should look for is a "keep warm" setting, which many models have. This stops food that's ready to serve from drying out, or from losing too much nutrition in the cooking process. Next-gen settings you can find in some cookers include timers that switch between heat settings, too.


Most slow cookers have removable pots that are dishwasher safe. Look for models with stay cool handles and glass lids so you can see what's happening inside, too. For the easiest cooking and cleaning experience, make sure to buy the models that are easiest to clean.

Find Your Slow Cooker at Abt

Whether you're choosing a replacement slow cooker, a gift for the home chef in your life or are searching for a new pick for your home, make sure you know exactly what you're looking for when you start your search. Explore all of our cookers to see the options we sell, compare our prices and more. And if you have questions, give our experts a call at 800-860-3577 and we'll be able to help.